Lower rates apply to Northeast cities

USAIR'S NEW DISCOUNT FARES

May 13, 1993|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,USAir GroupStaff Writer

The full fares listed in the Business section in yesterday's edition of The Sun for USAir's new ticket prices in the Northeast corridor were one-way prices, not round-trip.

The Sun regrets the error.

In a bid to lure passengers out of cars and trains, USAir is offering new discount fares on non-stop flights of up to 750 miles in and out of cities along the Northeast corridor.

The move also could blunt efforts by start-up discount carriers to undercut the airline's prices.

The fares, effective yesterday, involve most nonstop USAir jet and USAir Express commuter flights to and from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, as well as flights to and from Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Boston, Philadelphia, New York LaGuardia, Washington, Newark and Hartford.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The maximum fare for a ticket bought 14 days in advance is now $198 for a round trip between major cities in the Northeast corridor and anywhere within 750 miles. The price is as low as $98 for a round trip between some cities. Tickets are nonrefundable, and the flight must be nonstop.

The new round-trip fare from Baltimore to Atlanta, for example, is $158, compared with $290 formerly, and a round trip to Charlotte, N.C., fell to $198, from $230.

"We are offering the lowest fares to the most price-sensitive market -- families, seniors and students," said Trey Urbahn, director of pricing development for USAir. "Right now, we're not getting that traffic. We're not competitive with other forms of transportation."

The Arlington, Va.-based airline began these offers yesterday: to anyone flying on Saturday and Sunday, no advance purchase is necessary to receive the new, lower 14-day advance-purchase fares; a new round-trip fare for seniors, children and youth, also without advance booking; and a lower seven-day advance-purchase fare for business travelers.

The availability of discounted fares will be limited.

In many cases, full fares for business travelers rose under the latest restructuring. A one-way full fare to Pittsburgh rose to $299, from $290, though business travelers can now buy a seven-day excursion ticket for $249.

Some analysts said the new fare structure was designed to pre-empt the growing number of start-up carriers, like Kiwi International, which operates out of Newark, N.J., and the possible start-upof Frank Lorenzo's Friendship Airlines, which is considering BWI.

"I see it as an attempt to pre-empt Frank Lorenzo's airline," said Harold E. Shenton, vice president of Avmark, an aviation consulting firm in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Lorenzo, who operated Continental and now-defunct Eastern Airlines, has asked regulators to approve his application to operate a discount carrier, most likely out of BWI.

Overall, airline fares have been rising steadily since last year's devastating fare wars, which contributed to industrywide losses.

According to a survey by American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc., the average full-coach fare rose 44 percent since last year; the lowest discount fare rose 11 percent.

While fare wars have tapered off significantly over the past year, most airlines, including USAir, recently matched Northwest Airline's 30 percent temporary reduction in leisure fares in selected markets.

According to Mr. Shenton, the latest fare restructuring by USAir is likely to prompt fare cuts on selected routes by other airlines.

USAIR'S NEW FARES

Effective yesterday, USAir began offering new discount fares to and from Northeast cities on nonstop flights up to 750 miles.

The discounts involve most nonstop USAir jet and USAir Express commuter flights to and from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, as well as flights to and from Pittsburgh, Charlotte, N.C., Boston, Philadelphia, New York-LaGuardia, Washington, Newark, N.J. and Hartford, Conn.

The following are round-trip fares for coach and 14-day advance purchase.

.. .. .. ... .. .. .. FULL .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..14-DAY

CITY .. .. .. OLD.. .. .. NEW.. .. .. .. .. OLD.. .. .. .. NEW

Atlanta .. .. $310.. .. ..$249 .. .. .. .. $290.. .. ... ..$158

Hartford .. ..260 .. .. ..299.. .. .. .. .. 210 .. .. .. .. 158

Cleveland .. .360 .. .. ..349 .. .. .. .. ..280 .. .. .. .. 198

Charlotte .. .330 .. .. ..349 .. .. .. .. ..230 .. .. .. .. 198

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